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Reviews Categories | Antennas: HF: Vertical, Wire, Loop | SteppIr BigIr Vertical Help


Reviews Summary for SteppIr BigIr Vertical
SteppIr BigIr Vertical Reviews: 58 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $759
Description: 40 to 6 meters 1/4 vertical- no traps, coils or capacitors.
can be used as a 3/4 wave vertical 21mhz and above. 32 ft length, radials required.
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.steppir.com
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W8JN Rating: 5/5 Sep 14, 2011 10:31 Send this review to a friend
The Best  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have a Steppir Big IR with 80 meter coil. The antenna is spectacular, and the customer service is even better. I have had 3, 1 in a million odd problems and they fixed them instantly. First problem was a flaw in the copper ribbon that caused it to "strip" and the antenna failed to work. Steppir fixed it under warranty, no questions asked. Turn around time was 10 days. Second issue, lightning strike smoked my controller. This was non warranty (of course), however they had a replacement out to me in 3 days (coast to coast) at half price (close out of the old style controller). Third issue was a failed steppir motor. Jim (tech support) spent hours on the phone with me after closing time trying to find the issue. We found the problem (one in a million flaw) and Bart replaced the motor under warranty. A great bunch of guys and a terrific product.
 
KH6DC Rating: 5/5 May 24, 2011 18:43 Send this review to a friend
Last Vertical I Need To Buy  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well, after 12 weeks of waiting from time to order to time I received it, I waited another 6 months to get it installed due to moving QTH several times. Well I finally got it up with the 80m coil. SWR was >12:1 on all bands. The good folks on the SteppIR Yahoo group posted some solutions and it turned out it was the 80m coil. I bypassed the coil and got SWR 2.4:1 or less, 1:1 on 40m and 2.4:1 on 20m. I have 36 radials 36' long but due to the yard morphology, they are not in a perfect 360 degrees pattern plus the antenna is about 2 feet from a chain link fence. I used to get 3.6:1 on 20m so this is an vast improvement. Signals seem louder and I worked a East Kiribati station receiving a 59 report at just 20 watts out. Now will be working on getting the 80m coil back online, have to figure out the antenna length and coil tap number but all in all this is a work of engineering marvel. I will buy another BigIR or even a Dream Beam in the future. 73, Delwyn KH6DC
 
KB1SIC Rating: 5/5 Mar 23, 2011 15:05 Send this review to a friend
wonderful antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Had to wait months for delivery but now its here and on the air.2 hours to assemble and another 1& 1/2 hours to erect and install my preassembled radial kit.(DX enginnering plate with 60 radials totaling 1600')It is all I had hoped for.Great reports on all bands.Money well spent...
 
VE6SQ Rating: 5/5 Mar 11, 2011 10:32 Send this review to a friend
Gotta Love it  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
When I decided to get back in the game after a hiatus of over 10 years (actually more like 35+ yrs on hf) I pulled a 15/20/40m inverted vee up into a birch tree in the back yard. It worked - and the the swr was acceptable over most of the bands. It also barely fit in the yard - making a full size 80 meter leg out of the question.

Then the birch tree had to come down. The alternative was a scotch pine - but I lost almost 10 feet of height off an already low antenna.

No room for a tower & beam - so the search began for a vertical.

Finally decided upon the BigIr and after what seemed an endless wait, the antenna arrived in the 2nd week of November (a Friday). Steppir had (at my request) shipped the cable & mounting pole early, so by the time the antenna showed up, we had everything ready to go.

The only shortcoming was trying to get the collapsing fibreglass poles extended as specified. Lucky for me, I managed to geta hold of someone at the factory (Tech support had already called it a day), who very kindly told me that the second below the telescoping pole has been made a little longer so... (documentation!!).

Anyway, one we were past that little issue, things proceeded (did I mention that the screw layout for the attachment of the 80m coil housing didn't match any of the diagrams - added a bit of time to the process).

Anyway - got the thing up in the dark - that part was quick!!. Few issues with the computer hookup to the controller (RTFM!) or in this case the diagram! (interesting if non standard approach to supporting both TTL level & RS232 level signals).

My BigIr is terribly radial challenged. We managed to get 500 ft of wire buried, but it's far from optimum - some directions are very radial challenged).

Having said that - Dont try and take it away from me.!!

Some bands, I can't get the SWR below 1.5 to one... and that's the absolute worst case!!

Could I break the pileups during the ARRL DX SSB - nope... Of course I was only running 100 watts. I managed only 40 contacts and I had to work for them - hard.

On the other hand, in the contests where so many are not trying to contact so few and in the CW & RTTY contests - a lot of fun!! Even managed a 60 minute run of 50+ contacts in two of the RTTY contests - once on 40 & once on 15.

WAC, Antarctica, WAS (all modes) (1 short on RTTY, 3 short on CW and 6 short on SSB) WAC on 40/20/15. All NA coasts some dx on 80 and a total of over 2000 contacts since the thing was installed - more than enough fun for anyone....

Now if can fish some wire under the deck, and along the outside of the fence.....

Villy ve6sq
 
N7BD Rating: 5/5 Jan 29, 2011 11:41 Send this review to a friend
Best Vertical $$ can buy  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After a frustrating 11 weeks wait time, I could not be more pleased with this antenna! I had a SWR problem but found it to be the BALAN that I purchased for it. (Not needed). I have the antenna ground mounted with 48 20' radials + 2 cut for 20M. (They were the result of fighting the initial SWR question)
I did not get the 80M coil. The antenna works great across all bands (6M-40M) with never having SWR readings above 1.3 and most 1.1 - 1.24. I am curious how to does through the winter. Although an expensive antenna, you will NOT be disppointed! I run approximately 600 watts and generally, if I can hear the station, I have been able to work them. On 40M, usually on the first try even with a pileup.
 
WS4B Rating: 5/5 Jan 16, 2011 18:46 Send this review to a friend
Great - But take precautions  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I live in a deed restricted neighborhood with CCRs. My HOA gave me permission last year to put up a vertical, and primarily based on the reviews here as well as the SteppIR "name" I chose this one. I have zero regrets, and love this antenna! I have it ground mounted with sixteen 32 foot radials, and thirty two 16 foot radials. Since we are still awaiting Cycle 24 to wake up, most of my experience with this antenna has been on 17 through 40 Meters. I do not have the 80 Meter coil (for now).

My first recommendation for those that get this antenna is to guy it. Manufacture specs claim the antenna can withstand winds up to 75 MPH. I had one particular case where that did not happen. The antenna housing has two pieces of 3/4" 7.5 feet CPVC, connected with a coupler. For some reason my coupler cracked after installation. I am not sure if this was from wind pressure or temperature change. While I was away on vacation, I came back to find half the antenna lying on the ground. That is when I found the cracked coupler being in my opinion the most likely cause. Guying the antenna I feel will put far less strain on that connecting piece.

In addition, I had the antenna fully "extended" while I was away. The radiating part of the antenna is a copper alloy that extends and retracts depending on what band you are on. I did not retract the antenna while I was away, thus the copper alloy was bent and fully exposed when the top half of the antenna came crashing down. Fortunately I was able to bend the copper alloy back into place, so no permanent damage was done. So lesson number two is to ALWAYS retract the antenna via the control box when not in use, especially when anticipating bad weather. The owner manual from what I can see DOES NOT state this, which I feel is necessary information to keep from possibly damaging the antenna if it where to come down.

As others have said, the owner manual could be vastly improved. That being said, customer service is fantastic! I am rating the antenna and customer service a 5 out of 5, but the owner’s manual maybe 2 out of 5.

If you want a vertical that really puts out a good signal look no further, this is it! The antenna I was using before this one was a Mosley PRO-67B yagi, and never thought I would find a vertical that would make me as happy as that beam. I'm glad I found one!!
 
KD6SX Rating: 5/5 Oct 18, 2010 20:12 Send this review to a friend
Great Multi-band Vertical  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is an excellent antenna. I ground mounted it with 20 forty foot radials and 15 sixteen foot radials. I installed the 80 meter coil and the SWR is less than 2:1 on all bands 80 thru 6 meters. It outperforms my 80 meter dipole at distances over 500 miles or so and is a good DX antenna on that band. At times, on 20, 15, and 10 meters, this vertical is as good as or better than my three element triband beam. The 3/4 wave configuration on 15 thru 6 meters gives added performance on those bands. The optional autotrack feature works beautifully.

My only minor complaint is that the instruction manual has not been updated to reflect changes in the MK III model. This caused a little confusion but I made a few calls and exchanged a few e-mails with Jim (the tech support guy) and my questions were all answered. Jim is a great guy and extremely helpful.

I highly recommend this antenna for anyone who is looking for a good multi-band vertical.

73
George
 
G3OZN Rating: 5/5 Jul 22, 2010 08:04 Send this review to a friend
Update after 2 years  Time owned: more than 12 months
Added a second set of guys, performs great, in some cases was equal to my yagi at 60ft! the 3/4 wave setting is really a boost to signals.
I am tempted to purchase the 80M coil set up, BUT will it mess up the performance of this fine antenna???? It seems some folk have loads of problems with this 80M add on?
I was fortunate to purchase this antenna when the Pound sterling was in a good state!
I would not be without it, especially as the years creep on handling the tower and mainten ance of same, and Yagi is not as easy as it once was! If the Yagi gives problems or rotater or tower, I think I will stick with just the Steppir vertical.
 
K3GC Rating: 5/5 Jun 29, 2010 14:36 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic - Exceeds my expectations  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have had my BigIR up and running for just over a week now. If I could rate it a 10 I would.
When I was considering the purchase of the BigIR I searched this and other
forums for a comparison of the BigIR with the Hustler 6BTV which I replaced
with the BigIR.

There was very little information available and practically none on point. Most
of those who did express an opinion did just that - expressed an opinion with no
practical information - most had not ever seen the BigIR.

First off - the BigIR vertical is one FANTASTIC antenna. I am getting more
signal, stronger (by 1-2 S units) than ever before. The reports I receive are
generally much better though this is hard to evaluate.
The BigIR is installed in the exact same location over the same radial field (40
from 12' to 60'+) as the Hustler. I also have a delta loop for 20 meters.
Compared to the Hustler the Delta loop was essentially equal to the Hustler in
signal strength with perhaps a slight advantage to the delta loop. Now,
comparing the BigIR to the delta loop the BigIR signal strength is 1-2 S units
stronger.

Not very scientific I know but, still, there it is. The 40 meter band is
dramatically better - it has really come alive.

The highest SWR on any band is 1.4. I will say that after considerable effort
the Hustler tuned quite nicely across all available bands except 80m which I
don't use and do not have it with the BigIR. 6 Meters is a bit weak which is to
be expected with a vertically polarized antenna.

I could go on and on but the bottom line is that the BigIR vertical is a vast
improvement over the Hustler. I will say that the Hustler is a very good
vertical and served me well with many solid DX contacts but the SteppIR product
is in another world.

Final notes: The antenna installed easily (about 1.5 hours total). The overall
quality is superb. I did have some issues which were quickly resolved on the
phone with Marty. Service and support are tremendously improved over what was
available just a few weeks ago.

If you are considering a BigIR all I can say is "go for it" you will not be
disappointed. Having said all this I will have to express tow caveats - the
BigIR is the most expensive vertical out there that I am aware of and the
perpetual long lead time for delivery can be a problem - I had a seven week wait
which I understand is an improvement.
 
VE6TL Rating: 4/5 Mar 31, 2010 19:28 Send this review to a friend
Great Antenna - Documentation Could Be Improved  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I've had my BigIR with the 80m coil for about 6 months now. After waiting 3 months to arrive, I was really excited to get it up and working. This was my first SteppIR antenna and everything was new, including the new controller. Putting the antenna together went fairly smoothly - about 1/4 of the time it took to build my Butternut HF9V. I then hit a brick wall as nothing seemed to work when I first tried loading it up. After checking with some locals who also had this antenna, I contacted Marty at SteppIR and he walked me through a series of tests. He then sent me a new 80m coil as mine was deemed defective. While waiting for it to arrive (through Canadian customs), I decided to open the defective coil housing and discovered that they failed to hook up the main conductor. This was the case with another guy in town, so obviously the QC was not functional in the factory. Anyway, I reassembled everything (including the balun which is not designed to fit the 80m coil housing either) and saw that there was a signal! I then had to spend another hour with Marty on the phone to help me set up the controller. The version of firmware I had was different from his and we learned together. But at least he knew about which tap went where and how to get everything adjusted properly. I ended up documenting everything in a spreadsheet (including the procedure) in case I ever needed to go through it again. There was NO documentation that came with the BigIR Vertical and controller that walked you through the procedure. This is why I'm only giving a 4/5. I also noticed the controller only had one washer on the four screws that held the outside case on - another sign of being too rushed and lack of quality control. The good news is that once I set up every band for minimum SWR, I've not had to reset anything since then. The auto track feature works great, especially when contesting as I never have to worry about tuning it.

As for the antenna's performance, I've found it to be better than my Butternut HF9V as it seems less noisy (not measured qunatitatively) and certainly easier to load (from my transceiver). I've made some good DX contacts with it - which is not a proof of how efficient it is but at least to say it works well enough. On 80m, I have compared it to my shunt-fed 40' tower with TH6 on top, and it is not as effective. I say this as I've actually been able to make DX QSOs with my tower when the BigIR could not. This isn't quite apples to apples, as they both have different radial systems (both are tied together, though). Actually, the BigIR has about 40 radials, while the tower has about 16. They are all random lengths and buried. On 40m I've found the BigIR about the same as my inverted vee which hanges off my 40' tower. The advantage is that I also have all the bands from 10-80m on the BigIR. It seems to do a real nice job on the WARC bands as I don't have wires for these. All in all, I feel like it outperforms my old HF9V. If SteppIR ever gets the proper documentation out, I'd give it 5/5.
 
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